Jennifer Hudson and Scotty McCreery Reminisce on Their “American Idol” Experiences: 'We're All Bonded Together'

McCreery recalled a story about performing an Elvis Presley song during a rock-themed week on the show and receiving Priscilla Presley's stamp of approval

American Idol left quite an impact on Jennifer Hudson and Scotty McCreery.

During an appearance on the June 12 episode of The Jennifer Hudson Show, both former contestants on the reality singing competition series reminisced on their experiences, while McCreery recalled getting Priscilla Presley's stamp of approval on one of his performances.

"It’s been a wild ride," said the 30-year-old country singer, who won season 10. "I think if somebody would’ve told me back at 16 when I auditioned for the show, like, ‘Hey, 13 years later you’ll still be doing it, writing country songs, touring the country [and] the world,’ I would’ve shook their hand and said, 'I'll take that deal. This is fun.'"

Related: American Idol Winners: Who Won Each Season and Where Are They Now?

<p>Chris Haston/Warner Bros.</p> Scotty McCreery and Jennifer Hudson

Chris Haston/Warner Bros.

Scotty McCreery and Jennifer Hudson

McCreery recalled his time on Idol feeling like a "rollercoaster" of life changes. "One day I was bagging groceries back home in North Carolina, and the next it’s like, ‘Lights, camera, action! 30 million people are watching. Here you go. Go do it!’ Like, ‘OK.’ But I learned a lot. I had so much fun. It opened so many doors for me," he added.

The recent Grand Ole Opry inductee then spoke about his experience during the show's Hollywood Week. "I wouldn’t have let me through if I was [the judges]," he quipped. "I mean, do you even want to talk about Hollywood Week? It was tough."

"You don’t get any sleep, and they’re like, ‘Alright. At 10 a.m. you’re singing this song,’ and I forgot all the lyrics. I thought I was done," added McCreery. "But for some reason they gave me a second chance, and I’m so glad they did, ‘cause it was a teaching moment for me, and I was like, ‘Can’t let that happen again. Gotta show up prepared.’"

Related: Scotty McCreery Brings the Joy to New Album, Writing and Singing 'What Feels Good' (Exclusive)

<p>Chris Haston/Warner Bros.</p> Scotty McCreery and Jennifer Hudson

Chris Haston/Warner Bros.

Scotty McCreery and Jennifer Hudson

Hudson, 42, said one of her most prominent memories from Idol — on which she finished in seventh place during season 3 — is that she "would still get nervous on elimination days — even long after I was off the show."

The EGOT holder explained, "I would be somewhere, and I’m like, ‘I feel anxious. What’s wrong? Oh, child, it’s elimination day.'"

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<p>Jason Kempin/Getty</p> Scotty McCreery performs in Nashville in October 2023

Jason Kempin/Getty

Scotty McCreery performs in Nashville in October 2023

McCreery also spoke about his favorite performance from his time on the show, which was Elvis Presley's "That's Alright Mama" during a rock-and-roll-themed week.

"I love that guy, but the kicker was that Priscilla was there at the show, and I got to talk with her between commercial breaks," detailed the "See You Again" musician. "She looked at me, and she said, ‘Scotty, can I tell you something?’ I said, ‘Absolutely, Priscilla.’ She said, ‘Elvis would’ve loved you.’ Oh my God. I had to sing after that! But that was the best compliment I’ve ever received."

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